Peaceful protesters against the arms fair go to court

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Peaceful protesters against the arms fair go to court

By Symon Hill


Protesters at last year's DSEI arms fair in London. Campaign Against Arms Trade under a Creative Commons Licence

Symon Hill is the author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion and Digital Revolutions for New Internationalist. He, is in court next week on trial for a peaceful protest outside an arms fair. He writes:

As some of you know, I will be in court on trial next week with four others. We are on trial for peacefully stopping people going into one of the entrances to the London arms fair in September 2013. We linked arms in the entrance, sang hymns and prayed. Behind us, people were selling weapons of war and death.

We will be in court on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 February because we refused to move when the police asked us. We have pleaded Not Guilty. We will say that there was illegal activity going on inside the arms fair. Two companies were selling torture equipment, but they were not arrested or charged.

We are supporting others who will be on trial later in February for other peaceful protests against the London arms fair.

Caroline Lucas (Green MP) and Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) have supported us and many other people have spoken against the arms fair. We have been so happy to receive the messages of support.

I’m very happy to say that many people have organized a peaceful meeting outside the court on Monday 3 February 2014. We’re very thankful for this. It will begin at 9am and there is a moment of silence at 10am to remember victims of the arms trade.

This is the plan:

What: A peaceful protest outside the court, to show our support and to remember people who are victims of war because of the government’s support of the arms trade. The organizers have banners and leaflets, but you can bring other messages of peace.

Where: Stratford Magistrates’ Court, The Court House, 389-397 High Street, London, E15 4SB (a short walk from Stratford station).

When: Starting at 9am on Monday 3 February and a moment of silence at 10am. We may be in court for a long time and some people have kindly offered to be there until the end of the day. And then again on 4 February from 9am if the trial continues.

If you can’t come, please pray with us and/or think about the day. You can also follow us on Twitter, by following @PutDowntheSword and using the hashtag #StopDSEi. Facebook includes an event page for several arms fair trials including this one. Others are leaving messages of support on the Christians Against the Arms Fair page.

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